Friday, June 10, 2005

Fact Free EU Zone

EU finances are not something I can claim to know a great deal about. As usual, it's not going to stop me from expressing an opinion on the subject.
Here's the story.

The first thing is that I can't see any justification for the British rebate. Twenty four nations follow one set of rules but Mrs Thatcher didn't like those rules so we've a special set just for us. We're like the spoilt kid in the class who sulks until they get what they want. The EU would be even more of a mess if every country negotiated the way the UK does. The rules are badly in need of reform and serious negotiations are required from all member states.

But for this man to be leading the calls for the rebate to be scrapped? No, I don't think so. Is he willing to discuss the removal of EU agricultural trade subsidies? Not likely.

This is the one area which could actually make a huge difference in the G8's stated goal of addressing poverty in Africa. I'm not saying that France is the only sticking point but I think it's fair to say that it is the biggest one. The French are apparently not even prepared to discuss reform of the CAP. Well, I'm afraid I find that hypocritical in the extreme (even Blair would struggle to achieve such a level).

So, let's get rid of the ludicrously unfair EU agricultural subsidies, let's put pressure on the US to do the same with their own protectionist agriculture policies, and let's scrap the British rebate. But let's not take advice from a posturing French President who won't even discuss reform of the EU's most indefensible policies.

Update: what some other people say.
The Sharpener (Nosemonkey) : Britain's rebate - A European view
Perfect (Robin) : The common agricultural policy: A ray of hope
And, writing from a country with similar issues to contend with, Hugo Kent : The Rebate Debate

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